from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An open, shallow, usually round container used especially for holding liquids.
  • noun The amount that such a vessel can hold.
  • noun A washbowl; a sink.
  • noun An artificially enclosed area of a river or harbor designed so that the water level remains unaffected by tidal changes.
  • noun A small enclosed or partly enclosed body of water.
  • noun A region drained by a single river system.
  • noun A broad tract of land in which the rock strata are tilted toward a common center.
  • noun A large, bowl-shaped depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A circular dish or vessel of greater width than depth, contracting toward the bottom, and used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing, but also for various other purposes.
  • noun As much as a basin will hold; a basinful.
  • noun In the arts and manufacturing: In hat-making, a vessel filled with boiling water in which the loose mat of felted fur formed on the cone for a hat-body is dipped in the process of basining (see basin, v. t.), in order to shrink it to the proper size. Also called sizing-kettle.
  • noun A concave piece of metal on which glass-grinders form their convex glasses.
  • noun The scale or scale-dish of a balance when concave.
  • noun A pair of hollow metal dishes clashed together like cymbals to produce sound: formerly beaten when infamous persons were exposed in a cart as a punishment.
  • noun A basin-shaped vessel hung by chains from the roof of a church, with a pricket in the middle for the serges. See cerge. When of silver, such vessels usually had a brass or latten basin within to catch the wax-droppings.
  • noun The hollow part of a plate or dish.
  • noun A natural or artificial reservoir for water.
  • noun In geography: The area drained by a river.
  • noun A basin-shaped depression or hollow; a circular or oval valley.
  • noun In geology, an area over which the stratified formations are so disposed as to show that they were deposited in succession within a basin-shaped depression of the original surface, thus giving rise to a series of beds which have a general dip toward a common center, especially near the edges of the area.
  • noun In anatomy: The third ventricle of the brain.
  • noun The pelvis.
  • noun In entomology, a large concavity in a surface; specifically, a concave portion of the metathoracic segment over the base of the abdomen.
  • noun Formerly also spelled bason.
  • noun In horticulture, the depression at the apex of pomaceous fruits, as apples and pears. The calyx or eye sits in the basin. The depression at the opposite end is known as the cavity.
  • noun An intermediate basin between a wet dock and the sea or tidal portion of a river or harbor. This intermediate basin is operated in the same manner as an ordinary lock, and differs from it only in being larger and thus in locking in or out several vessels at a time.
  • In hat-making, to harden or shrink to the proper size, as a hat-body in the process of felting, by dipping in the basin of hot water, wrapping in the basining-cloth (which see), and rolling on a table. Also spelled bason.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A hollow vessel or dish, to hold water for washing, and for various other uses.
  • noun The quantity contained in a basin.
  • noun A hollow vessel, of various forms and materials, used in the arts or manufactures, as that used by glass grinders for forming concave glasses, by hatters for molding a hat into shape, etc.
  • noun A hollow place containing water, as a pond, a dock for ships, a little bay.
  • noun A circular or oval valley, or depression of the surface of the ground, the lowest part of which is generally occupied by a lake, or traversed by a river.
  • noun The entire tract of country drained by a river, or sloping towards a sea or lake.
  • noun (Geol.) An isolated or circumscribed formation, particularly where the strata dip inward, on all sides, toward a center; -- especially applied to the coal formations, called coal basins or coal fields.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A bowl for washing, often affixed to a wall.
  • noun geography An area of land from which water drains into a specific river.
  • noun geography A rock formation scooped out by water erosion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a natural depression in the surface of the land often with a lake at the bottom of it
  • noun a bathroom sink that is permanently installed and connected to a water supply and drainpipe; where you can wash your hands and face
  • noun the entire geographical area drained by a river and its tributaries; an area characterized by all runoff being conveyed to the same outlet
  • noun a bowl-shaped vessel; usually used for holding food or liquids
  • noun the quantity that a basin will hold


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French bacin, from Vulgar Latin *baccīnum, from *baccus, container, of Celtic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English basin, from Old French bacin, from Medieval Latin baccinum, from Late Latin bacca ("wine jug"), from Gaulish (compare Welsh baich ("load, burden"), Irish bac ("hindrance")).



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "3. In the arts and manufacturing: In hat-making, a vessel filled with boiling water in which the loose mat of felted fur formed on the cone for a hat-body is dipped in the process of basining (see basin, v. t.), in order to shrink it to the proper size. Also called sizing-kettle." -- Cent. Dict.

    June 2, 2011

  • Do you think the Hogwarts sorting-hat had to spend time in the sizing-kettle?

    (Why does that sound vaguely dirty?)

    June 2, 2011

  • It's no more base than the loose meat in the definition.

    Edit: Oh, snap! It's a loose mat, not loose meat.

    Second edit: I'm reaallly glad hats aren't usually made of meat.

    Third edit: Although I still can't explain pork pie hats.

    June 3, 2011

  • Surely meatheads wear meathats. And listen to Ladygag.

    June 3, 2011